Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Cage of the mind

Krishna has unlimited names. So many different aspects are described. Actually once people started to make a collection of the names of God and finally they published a big book about this. But I think the most profuse source for the names of the Supreme is the Indian culture. Because they have this very special approach of unity of the divine name and the Divine Named –naam and naami.

In these names so many deep aspects are mentioned: how He is not only the Lord of everything – because this is a usual conception of God – but in more specific ways we can see how He exists. So, the general names of the Supreme will bring what result? Kripadham, you have given a lecture on Harinama Chintamani, it is mentioned there. Secondary names will bring…?

Kripadham: Secondary names will bring moksha.

Tirtha Maharaj: Correct! And what is the gift of the primary names?

Kripadham: Prema.

Tirtha Maharaj: Prema! It’s different! Therefore our chanting and our attention should be always very much focused on the spiritual activities. Because we should not miss the goal, we should not miss the target. Illusion provides you so many ambitions and so many goals to reach, to divert your attention, but the spiritual illusion will also provide many targets. Spiritual illusion?! What is that? ‘I know from my studies that maha-maya is bad, yoga-maya is good, so spiritual illusion is good, isn’t it?’ But there are some traps and there are some dangers on the spiritual path. And even if you think that you direct your steps towards the Supreme, it might be some zigzag way. So, the spiritual illusion as a trap is not the divine illusion of yoga-maya, which will connect you to the Supreme in a very intimate and very direct way, forgetting His majestic aspect and establishing a very living contact. But I want to say something about these traps.

So, the spiritual path – as it is a very glorious goal, very glorious enterprise, so to say – is dangerous. What is the main danger in the spiritual progress, Tejasvini?

Tejasvini: Pride.

Tirtha Maharaj: Everybody says: ‘Yes, yes! We know this feeling.’ Everybody is practicing it very strongly, very effectively. Once one of my dear god-brothers approached Gurudev and asked: ‘Can you tell me what my greatest mistake is?’ Then Gurudev was keeping silent for a while and then he said: ‘Well, just like with all the others – your false ego.’ A real guru will tell you your mistakes. If you come with an intellectual approach: ‘Please, Gurudev, can you tell me my mistakes?’ he will think that you are an intellectually capable person and when there is a proper question, proper answer can be given. But if he starts to give you the list of your shortcomings and then you start to cry and revolt, then that is not an intellectual response. So, if we want to ask, we have to be able to tolerate the answer. It is not obligatory to ask. But if you ask, you have to follow, this is the rule. Rule number one: don’t ask a sadhu if you are not ready to accept his advice.

So, one of the major traps is this ego trip – the story starts with us and ends with us. Although this is a sweet topic – ‘myself’ is a very sweet topic. Everybody likes to hear about himself or herself, to discuss or open up… Because our image is very close to us, therefore it’s a very dear topic. To a certain extent this is necessary – no problem if you are a little focused on yourself, because first we have to identify the starting point. And the starting point is our present situation, so no problem. If you want to analyze a little bit yourself, to understand your position, your situation – it’s necessary, but don’t stay too long with this topic.

Another trap is when instead of following, we imitate. This I consider a major trap. For example, here is celebration, vyasa puja – you can be part like an imitator and you can be part like a real practitioner. If you only imitate, then you will use all the humble expressions, but this is only like external words without the deeper meaning or the realization. Yet even repeating the good example will bring some good results. Therefore we should be very attentive in our spiritual practices. Knowledge, understanding and emotions should go side by side. We have to know what we are practicing and we have to give all our emotions to the Supreme.


(to be continued)

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